Archive for December 2nd, 2010

I recently finished a commissioned piece for a couple in NYC.  It was a little different and offered more challenges than many of my requested pieces. 

First,  it was a larger version of a smaller existing painting, Destination, which was a 12″ by 36″ canvas.  The requested piece is a 24″ by 54″ canvas.  So, while it is larger, it also has has a different ratio of height to width than the smaller painting, meaning it is less panoramic and changes the relationships of  all the elements in the painting to one another.

The second problem was that the original piece was painted in what I have referred to here as my reductive style.  It is a process that I use that places a lot of wet, liquid paint on a horizontal canvas (or paper) and takes away paint with brushes or rags until I have achieved the color and intensity I’m seeking.  I use transparent paints which allows the gessoed surface underneath to glow through.  

The other way I paint is an additive process.  By that I mean that paint is simply built up from the surface by adding stroke after stroke of paint, usually going from darker tones on the surface to lighter tones.  It is a more traditional method of painting.  My work tends to have a bit less refined appearance when I paint in this way as a result of generally using larger brushes and allowing the skies in my landscapes to be unblended color comprised of individual brushstrokes.  I also usually start these paintings with a layer of black paint over my normal gessoed surface.  This was the method that was requested for this new piece.

So, the request was for this smaller, more panoramic painting to be translated into a larger, somewhat boxier piece painted in a different method.  At first, I was skeptical that it could be achieved to either my satisfaction or their’s.  After a short bit of consternation, I decided to simply jump in and keep some of the elements the same and try to carry the tone of the colors through but let the painting take its own course.   I changed other elements and colors as I felt were needed in the context of the new painting.  For instance, the trees in the foreground are thinner and more expressive, as well as lighter in color.   I ended up with a piece that carries the influence of the original yet has become something of its own, complete with a different feel and attitude.  Just what I had hoped for when I started.  I was very pleased and, fortunately,  the folks who requested the painting were very happy as well. 

Here are how the two compare, when placed together in relative size.

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